Amid Chinese crackdown on cryptocurrency mining, many owners of small hydropower plants put their energy facilities up for sale. One can even buy them online.
The sudden ban on bitcoin mining in China forced many owners of small hydropower plants to rush to dump their assets while the demand for cheap electricity has not completely dried up.
The number of advertisements on the popular e-commerce site Xianyu for the sale of small hydropower plants with a capacity of about 50 megawatts increased sharply compared to the previous month. Most of the small hydroelectric power plants for sale are located in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, which is rich in water resources and has thus become a global hub for bitcoin mining. Last week, 26 mining farms stopped working there.
Sellers openly hint that the purchase of a small hydroelectric power station will allow to connect a mining farm to it and quietly mine cryptocurrency. “You can secretly mine cryptocurrency if you buy a hydroelectric power plant,” one of the sellers on the platform promised when contacted by a reporter from the South China Morning Post.
Two other sellers responded that their decision to sell had nothing to do with the mining ban.
Three other sellers confirmed that due to the mining ban, the demand for electricity produced by small hydropower plants sharply decreased, and they are more often put up for sale. This has already led to a decrease in prices for small hydropower plants themselves.
Small-scale hydropower plants in China are widespread in water-rich provinces, as local governments support owners of such hydropower plants, as they enable the electrification of remote rural areas.
In areas such as the Yangtze River Economic Belt, which spans nine provinces in China, there were more than 25,000 small hydropower plants with less than 50 MW capacity by the end of 2020, according to China Energy News.